Phoenix could gain a few more residents soon. The NBA reportedly is crafting guidelines that it will send to teams on June 1 regarding how to properly get players back into the city they play in, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN.
Players then will likely be expected to quarantine for a period of time so as to not spread the coronavirus from one locale to another. The U.S. Center for Disease Control currently does not recommend unneeded travel, which is why the league has likely waited so long to move, but this is the first step toward resuming the 2019-20 season, so it must happen if the league wants to play games this summer.
More from ESPN:
The league is discussing a step-by-step plan for a resumption of the season that includes an initial two-week recall of players into team marketplaces for a period of quarantine, one to two weeks of individual workouts at team facilities, and a two- to three-week formal training camp, sources told ESPN.
At this time, players who remained in their team’s city are able to work out at the team facility, so long as their municipality allows it. Thus far, Jevon Carter and Frank Kaminsky are the only players we know have worked out at Veterans Memorial Coliseum (née the Madhouse at McDowell), but once more Suns get to Phoenix and finish their quarantine, they will be allowed to practice together.
Games are expected to return “some time before the end of July,” according to ESPN. That means the Suns would likely have to go through their entire training camp without access to the new practice facility, which I reported is still on track to open in late July at the earliest. The Suns may have to miss the grand opening of their own building while the season takes place in Orlando and/or Las Vegas.
As for the format of a potential season, ESPN reported the following:
The NBA and NBPA are meeting to discuss the structure of a return, including how the league will navigate the possibility of regular-season games, play-in tournaments, playoff formats and whether the full 30 teams will be brought back to finish the season, sources said.
From a Suns perspective, that means the team may not necessarily be included in the new version of the season. Besides moving right to the playoffs, other structures including a play-in tournament have been discussed, but even that might exclude the Suns, who are the 13th seed in the Western Conference as things stand.
The league and its players will have to agree to a season structure before anyone starts flying across the country. It would be not only silly but unnecessarily risky to have players head to their team’s cities if they were not going to be part of the resumed NBA season. Some may still desire access to the team facility if they don’t have access where they’ve been quarantining, but the majority of players who do not participate in the resumed season, I would guess, will just stay put.
The biggest news of all of this, of course, is that the season is one step closer to resuming! The best-case scenario is that the Suns are able to participate safely, but even if they aren’t, this also means we’re one step closer to clarity regarding the draft and free agency, with all the nitty-gritty details about the salary cap and everything else coming soon, too.